UPDATED with Scholastic/Warner Bros. responses:
In a statement Thursday, Scholastic said that “J.K. Rowling is one of the world’s most accomplished authors and is known in her writing and philanthropy as a champion of oppressed and vulnerable people. We support her right to express her personal views and beliefs. We also fully support the rights of LGBTQIA+ people. As the Scholastic credo states, we believe in the worth and dignity of all individuals, and are opposed to discrimination of any kind.”
Warner Bros. also responded yesterday, saying “We recognize our responsibility to foster empathy and advocate understanding of all communities and all people, particularly those we work with and those we reach through our content.”
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A J.K. Rowling weekend tweet continued to ripple into Wednesday as her corporate partners weighed in, or didn’t, in response to the author’s views on the trans community.
Universal Parks & Resorts, home to Harry Potter rides and attractions in Los Angeles and Orlando, said in a statment, “Our core values include diversity, inclusion and respect for all our guests, as well as our team members. Our theme parks are places where people and families of all types are welcome to enjoy their time together. Beyond that, we have no further comment.”
At HBO Max, no changes are currently planned to the Potter lineup. The Harry Potter movies were all promoted last month on the streamer, which offered the full franchise of eight films together for the first time when it launched.
Deadline has also reached out for comment to Warner Bros. and Harry Potter’s U.S. publisher, Scholastic.
“Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself. This is an ongoing process,” said the actor, who was Oscar nominated for his portrayal of Lili Elbe, a Danish transgender woman, in Focus Features’ The Danish Girl.
On Saturday, Rowling tweeted, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth…The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women — ie, to male violence — ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences — is a nonsense.”
Rowling had been embroiled in a similar controversy last year for supporting Maya Forstater, a researcher who stated that people cannot change their biological sex.
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe criticized Rowling on Tuesday with a response on the Trevor Project website, writing: “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I. According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.”
GLAAD also slammed Rowling’s remarks saying that they “willfully distorts facts about gender identity and people who are trans.”
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